World news – Shippers with short hands cannot close Celtics on the route

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Kawhi Leonard of the Clippers, right, fights for the rebound against Jayson Tatum (0) of Celtics in the first half of Friday’s game at the Staples Center. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

LA Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue watches as the Boston Celtics defeat LA Clippers 119-115 during an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star News / SCNG)

Jayson Tatum # 0 of the Boston Celtics shoots at Serge Ibaka # 9 of the LA Clippers in the second half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star News / SCNG)

Ivica Zubac # 40 of the LA Clippers heads to the basket against the Boston Celtics in the second half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, February 5, 2021 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Nicolas Batum # 33 of the LA Clippers fights for loose ball against the Boston Celtics in the second half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star News / SCNG)

Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum # 0 hits the LA Clippers in the second half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Jayson Tatum # 0 of the Boston Celtics on the bench at halftime against the LA Clippers during an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Lou Williams # 23 of the LA Clippers plays the Boston Celtics in the second half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Kawhi Leonard # 2 of the LA Clippers on the bench with an injury against the Boston Celtics in the second half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star News / SCNG)

LA Clippers’ Nicolas Batum # 33 battles for the rebound against Tristan Thompson # 13 of the Boston Celtics in the second half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, February 5, 2021 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Grant Williams # 12 of the Boston Celtics reacts after beating a three-point basket against the LA Clippers in the second half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021 . (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard # 2 competes against the Boston Celtics in the second half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Nicolas Batum # 33 of the LA Clippers reacts to an official following a foul against the Boston Celtics in the second half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard # 2 competes against the Boston Celtics in the second half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

The Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum # 0 will face the LA Clippers in the second half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Reggie Jackson # 1 of the LA Clippers heads to the basket against Kemba Walker # 8 of the Boston Celtics in the second half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

The Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum # 0 will face the LA Clippers in the second half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

The Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum # 0 will face the LA Clippers in the second half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

The Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum # 0 will face the LA Clippers in the second half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum # 0 drives past LA Clippers Nicolas Batum # 33 to the basket in the second half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, February 5, 2021 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum # 0 drives past LA Clippers Nicolas Batum # 33 to the basket in the second half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, February 5, 2021 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Marcus Morris Sr. # 8 of the LA Clippers shoots a three-point basket against Tristan Thompson # 13 of the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, February 5, 2021 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Jayson Tatum # 0 of the Boston Celtics slams against Serge Ibaka # 9 of the LA Clippers in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) passes Los Angeles Clippers Center Serge Ibaka (9) in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, February 5, 2021 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Jayson Tatum # 0 of the Boston Celtics slams against Serge Ibaka # 9 of the LA Clippers in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) will face the Los Angeles Clippers in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, February 5, 2021 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Jayson Tatum # 0 of the Boston Celtics slams against Serge Ibaka # 9 of the LA Clippers in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

LA Clippers Serge Ibaka # 9 wins the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, February 5, 2021 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles against Jayson Tatum # 0 of the Boston Celtics. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Luke Kennard # 5 of the LA Clippers drives to the basket against the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Kawhi Leonard # 2 of the LA Clippers controls the ball against Payton Pritchard # 11 of the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham , Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard # 2 heads to the basket against the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Kawhi Leonard # 2 of the LA Clippers controls the ball against Daniel Theis # 27 and teammate Payton Pritchard # 11 of the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021 (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard # 2 heads to the basket against the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

LA Clippers Serge Ibaka # 9 wins the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, February 5, 2021 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles against Jayson Tatum # 0 of the Boston Celtics. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Carsen Edwards # 4 of the Boston Celtics reacts after scoring against the LA Clippers in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Reggie Jackson # 1 of the LA Clippers shoots Jayson Tatum # 0 of the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, February 5, 2021 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star News / SCNG)

Carsen Edwards # 4 of the Boston Celtics reacts after scoring against the LA Clippers in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Luke Kennard # 5 of the LA Clippers fights for the loose ball against Carsen Edwards # 4 of the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Reggie Jackson # 1 of the LA Clippers reacts after scoring against the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Grant Williams # 12 of the Boston Celtics shoots the LA Clippers in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Jayson Tatum # 0 of the Boston Celtics rebounded against the LA Clippers in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Kawhi Leonard # 2 of the LA Clippers shoots over Grant Williams # 12 of the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star News / SCNG)

Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens competes against the LA Clippers in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Kemba Walker # 8 of the Boston Celtics falls into a table against the LA Clippers in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Head coach Tyronn Lue of the LA Clippers against the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Boston Celtics’ Kemba Walker # 8 hits the LA Clippers in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

LA Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue competes against the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Kawhi Leonard # 2 of the LA Clippers against the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens competes against the LA Clippers in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Serge Ibaka # 9 of the LA Clippers shoots the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Kemba Walker # 8 of the Boston Celtics controls the ball against the LA Clippers in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star – News / SCNG)

Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum # 0 wins the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, February 5, 2021 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles against LA Clippers Serge Ibaka # 9. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

LA Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard # 2 fights for the rebound against the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, February 5, 2021 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

LA Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard # 2 battles for the rebound against Jayson Tatum # 0 of the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

LA Clippers will battle the loose ball against the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, February 5, 2021 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard # 2 heads to the basket against the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Celtics-Jayson Tatum shoots in front of Clippers Terance Mann in the first half of Friday’s game at Staples Center. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

LA Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue competes against the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Lou Williams (23) of the Los Angeles Clippers shoots at Payton Pritchard (11) of the Boston Celtics in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Los Angeles Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr., 8, works for a rebound against the Boston Celtics forward in the second half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, February 5, 2021 in Los Angeles, Grant Williams (12). (AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard, 2, is guarded by Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, February 5, 2021 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) will win the second half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, February 5, 2021 in Los Angeles by Jayson Tatum (above) and Grant Williams (12) of Boston Celtics defends. (AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac (center) grabs a rebound against Boston Celtics striker Jayson Tatum (left) during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, February 5, 2021 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Los Angeles Clippers security guard Luke Kennard (5) shoots alongside Boston Celtics security guard Kemba Walker (8) during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, February 5, 2021 in Los Angeles . (AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) shoots at Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams (12) in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, February 5, 2021 in Los Angeles . (AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (left) competes with Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, February 5, 2021 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Boston Celtics forward Tristan Thompson (right) ricochets off strikers Kawhi Leonard (2) and Nicolas in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, February 5, 2021 in Los Angeles Batum (33) from Los Angeles Clippers. (AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Boston Celtics security guard Kemba Walker, 8, rides alongside Los Angeles Clippers security guard Terance Mann during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, February 5, 2021 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) shoots alongside Los Angeles Clippers forward Serge Ibaka (9) in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, February 5, 2021 in Los Angeles . (AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard, 2, is highly acclaimed by Serge Ibaka, 9, after Leonard made the first half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics on Friday, February 5th 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Boston Celtics striker Tristan Thompson (13) ricochets off Luke Kennard (left) and Nicolas Batum (left) in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, February 5, 2021 in Los Angeles Los Angeles Clippers). (AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) scores in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021 in front of Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum. (AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (left) shoots alongside Los Angeles Clippers security guard Terance Mann (14) in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, February 5, 2021 . (AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Reggie Jackson # 1 of the LA Clippers reacts after scoring against the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum # 0 wins the second half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021 against LA Clippers Nicolas Batum # 33. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Eric Smith, Speaker of the Clippers Public Address, during an NBA basketball game between the LA Clippers and the Boston Celtics at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star -News / SCNG)

Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum # 0 hits the LA Clippers in the second half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Reggie Jackson # 1 of the LA Clippers reacts after scoring against the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Jayson Tatum # 0 of the Boston Celtics shoots the LA Clippers in the second half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

Jayson Tatum # 0 of the Boston Celtics shoots the LA Clippers in the second half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard # 2 heads to the basket against the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

LOS ANGELES – Maybe you can translate this score – Celtics 119, Clippers 115 – to mean « Get well soon folks. »

The Clippers (17-7) took to the field on Friday without Paul George (bone edema, foot) and Patrick Beverley (knee pain), losing for the third time in 14 games but for the second time in the last three games.

Even with an aggressive Kawhi Leonard picking up the pace, the Clippers missed their volume control and defensive pest when they faded away in the second half at the Staples Center in their first return leg after a six-time road trip on the East Coast without them.

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said they missed George especially because of all the dynamic offensive contributions they count on: “When he shoots, attacks and creates basketball for others, when teams change, he is someone who can be the guy who doesn’t dribble. can get into the basket … to be able to attack the switches more and when Kawhi is out of the picture it’s great for us to have him on the floor too. « 

 » Everyone pretty much needs to move up, « he said. « We all have to face the challenge and it will be fun. »

Leonard’s it-is-what-it-is mindset was extended to include the league’s plans to host an all-star game. This is noteworthy when you consider that he is the third among the Western Conference votes in the early polls.

« We all know why we play it. It’s money on the line, it’s an opportunity to make more money, » said Leonard. « I’m putting money on health right now. I mean, we’re playing right now Games and it’s still a pandemic to follow all of these protocols and rules. So it doesn’t really surprise me. I won’t think about what could or should have happened. Take it for what it is.  »
On Friday on the pitch, it was a starting line-up for the Clippers that Reggie Jackson and Luke Kennard played for George and Beverley – whose return has no obvious schedule. Kennard and Jackson contributed 13 and two points, respectively, which was not enough for the Clippers to withstand a second wind from an injury-related Celtics team.

In Boston Jaylen Brown (with knee problems every day) and Marcus Smart (two to three weeks with a calf injury) were absent as they avoided losing their second street.

But they had Jayson Tatum to go: his game-high 34 points helped the Celtics overcome a 47-37 rebound disparity – and a 16-point deficit in the first half.

The Celtics (12-9) only took the lead when Grant Williams’ 3-pointer gave them a 74-73 lead with 4:37 in the third quarter – as Boston left the Clippers behind, who are usually outside so at halftime were 38-20.

The Celtics had a small, switch-happy line-up, turning an 11-point deficit at half-time into a 7-point lead in the last frame.

« The last 12, 13 games, the third quarter was ours, » said Lue. “So I just have to go back and clean up some of these things. Big adjustment from (Celtics trainer) Brad (Stevens), they got small and switched between 1 and 5 which stagnated us.  »

And while the Clippers offensive slowed, the Celtics were boiling, Lou Williams pointed out – a reference to Boston’s 3-point 8v11 Spree in the third quarter.

« You have some great shooters, » said Lou Williams. “Kemba (Walker) got hot, Tatum got hot. As soon as people like that start leaving you have to put them in and I thought they made games for the other guys in their group who were also recording.  »

The Clippers (16-7) maintained their composure in a contest nearing a photo finish, and even when the 3-hand from Marcus Morris Sr. tied it, drew 102-102 with 5:29 remaining and then again when Leonard’s short left-handed sweater tied it at 106-106. Leonard’s turnaround fadeaway jumper next time on the pitch gave them the lead back, 108-106.

L.A. forced a shot clock injury with one minute remaining and took possession back to 111-109.

Leonard stormed towards the edge, attracted a crowd and tossed a pass to Lou Williams, who emptied the 3-pointer from the corner to push the Clippers forward with a 112 second lead.

After a timeout, the teams exchanged steals and the ball ended with Kemba Walker (24 points) shaking free for a 12-foot stepback jumper.

After Leonard’s Springer was short by 27.6 seconds, Tristan Thompson converted his two free throws to give Boston a three-point lead.

The next time the Clippers had possession, Leonard forced a 3-pointer 15.8 seconds ahead and missed it too, before Grant Williams nearly got the game out of reach by burying a few free throws.

« At the end of the game, you want Kawhi to take that shot, » said Lue. « He got his seat, got his middle class pull-up, just couldn’t do it. »

Still, the Clippers came back with one last breath: Williams – who scored 14 of his 18 points in the fourth period – threw down a quick 3 from a depth of 28 feet to breathe life into his team’s hopes, however Walker left and destroyed them forever with another pair of free throws that increased Boston’s lead on the final four points.

Leonard, who scored the team’s best 28 points in 8v19 shooting, also had 11 rebounds at game height. He was 0 for 5 from 3 point range, but his nimble attack resulted in much of his damage being done to the free-throw line, where he went 12 for 14 – season highs for brands and attempts from the streak.

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Lue wondered if Leonard’s higher gear on Friday was putting a lot of strain on the team’s solo superstar – especially with her point guard Jackson, the team’s other designated pace pusher – who had cut back much of the game with early foul issues.

« He started the game at a fast pace and it could have worn him out on the track, but that’s where Reggie comes in. And Reggie, who took those two early fouls, just took him out of the flow, » said Lue said. “But Reggie did a good job of aggressively accelerating this pace for us. When he leaves the game we (Luke) have on the floor … no traditional point guard out there, it’s nice of hard to keep that pace.  »

« Um, no, » countered Leonard. “Everyone should be able to step on the ground and run. Obviously when Pat and Paul are out we lack a lot of defense and obviously when Paul passes the ball, is able to catch and shoot, play the dribble, and you know he’s getting a lot of attention … but we ‘I just have to do something. I mean, we can all pick up the pace. It’s about running and cutting.  »

Ivica Zubac played his part in the attack on Friday and ended the season high with 14 points in 7-on-7 shooting. Batum was 16 and Morris finished at 13.

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